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A Surprise in the March Woodlands

It happens often enough, but I have never caught one in the act before. It was quite a surprise, and I will tell you about it at the end of this post. The March woodlands are filled with busy creatures and fresh foliage and pretty blooms as the world sheds its worn out winter garments and puts on spring finery. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to visit, when the light transforms the mood to something close to magical. Here's a quick tour, with all photos taken within the past few days.

Dogwoods were at their peak bloom this week:

A few other flowers in the woodland garden:
Clockwise from top left: Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection'; Native Silene virginica, commonly called Fire pink; the last of the daffodils blooming in my garden; Trillium, another native.

I have to admit, this part of the woods looks snaky:

And here's the surprise I promised. Look at the following photos and you will see a snake shedding its skin. Only a portion of its mid section is visible. The tail of the snake is in a hole, and its front is under a shrub. It is using the friction of the hole's edge to pull off the skin. Too bad I don't have a view of the front of the snake. I was tempted to lie on my belly and poke the camera under the shrub to get a view of its head, but sanity prevailed. I returned the next day to find the skin, but the last shot shows all that remained were a few pieces near the hole. Apparently, something ate the rest of it!

The snake had the right idea. With a new season and warmer weather, it's time for some new clothes!


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Reader Comments (20)

Lucky find. Rarely do you catch them in the act. That is why I like the woodlands. So much of interest to find. You have a lovely welcome of Spring on your property, Deb.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

How wonderful to actually be there when it happened, do you know what sort of snake it was? Would the snake have eaten its own skin by any chance? Your woodland plants are looking wonderful, woodland gardens are super places to be at this time of year aren't they?!

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

I've found shed skin, but never witnessed the act of a snake in the act! Fascinating. Your dogwoods, camellias, and daffodils are beautiful. Looks like a magical place.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

Wow!! That is one smart snake!! I need new clothes too!!! Great beautiful photos! Can't wait to be there in person!!! :-)

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Great post, Deb. The desire to get photos makes us braver than we'd be without a camera sometimes. I've seen two snakes already, a small hog-nosed snake and a bigger black rat snake but they were wearing their skins. I've read that snakeskin is a source of protein for other creatures. Birds, maybe?

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

I'm glad that you planted the cast iron plant in the same view as the blue bridge and moss path. You were very brave to get as close to the snake as you did. I'd be pretty scared to even step into a wood if there were signs of snakes about.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Whoa, all those softly lovely spring shots, and then The Snake. But how fascinating for you to have witnessed it!

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

your woodland just shouts 'Spring is here!' Wonderful vibrant colours - that green that is so fresh and new, beautiful. I think you were wise not to get onto the same level as the snake, I always jump when I see one, but I'm happy they want to live in the garden. Christina

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Your Woodland Gardens are always enchanting, especially in Spring. The snake photos are really cool, but I will be the first to admit - they give me a bit of a shiver!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShyrlene

Your gardens are sparkling. So fun about the snake.

Snakes don't care too awfully much, but I think you did the right thing. You never know! I do love the light at sunset, but I'm rarely around to see sunrise. LOL

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Hi Everyone! I appreciate your comments very much! Pauline, you asked about the kind of snake. I'm not sure, but I think it was an eastern garter snake, as this is the snake I most often see in my garden. Harmless, but I wasn't going to interfere in its business! Snakes don't eat their skins, but other creatures do. So someone had a good meal.

March 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Truly magical.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Love all the pictures. The woods can be such a fun place.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Lovely shots! I like that native little Fire Pink!
How fun to be able to see the snake in the act! And very brave to be that close!

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Wow, what a surprise!
The dogwoods look fantastic. Colors are definitely starting to appear....it's spring!

March 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Your dogwoods are beautiful. I must say the snake photo's are too! I love woodland gardens.

March 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda Addington


Your blog has wonderful photos! I'd like to contact you about using a couple of them for our plant sale catalog. Can you drop me an email? lkrivitz@comcast.net


March 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I'd be happy to just shed my winter coat! What a great find and to stumble upon it in live, in action! Love your spring woodland - just beautiful. I can almost here all the rustling of the tiny creatures. Hopefully the latest deep freeze here didn't harm my daffodils and other spring bloomers - they are just about ready to open. Cannot wait!

March 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthevioletfern

I love seeing positive commentary on snakes. So cool that you happened upon one while it was shedding -- my whole family would be thrilled to see that!

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